WTA Birmingham: Heather Watson defeats Camila Giorgi in straight sets

In the first round clash of the Aegon Classic, Heather Watson and Camila Giorgi faced off against each other for the third time in their careers. Both players had one victory each in the head-to-head, with Watson winning the most recent clash between the pair during their match in Indian Wells last year. Giorgi and Watson knew that a win today would give them a slight mental edge over their opponent in their next meeting. After a tightly-contested two sets, it was Watson who eventually found a way to defeat Giorgi. The British player looked impressive on serve during the match, which helped her on her way to pick up her first victory of the grass court season.

Early break proves decisive

Giorgi served first in the match and opened her account with a relatively comfortable hold of serve. Watson then stepped up to the service line and got herself on the scoreboard as she comfortably levelled at 1-all. The first break of the match came in the third game. Giorgi had her chances to hold her serve, but she could not make the most of them. This allowed Watson to work herself a break point opportunity, which she took at the first time of asking.

With Watson a break up, she knew that all she needed to do was win her remaining service games to take the set. Giorgi knew she had to win her service games to keep herself within touching distance of Watson and have a fighting chance in the set. The next five games in the set were won by the player who was serving. Both players looked impressive as they comfortably won their service games, without dropping more than one point.

This took the score to 5-4, and gave Watson the opportunity to serve to put herself a set ahead in the match. The British player raced to a 40-0 lead in the game, giving herself three set point chances. Giorgi managed to prevent Watson from capitalizing on one of the set point chances, however, there was nothing the Italian could do to stop Watson from taking the game and set with her second set point opportunity.

Camila Giorgi during the match. Photo: Steve Bardens/Getty Images
Camila Giorgi during the match. Photo: Steve Bardens/Getty Images

​Giorgi left ruing missed chances, as Watson breaks in the penultimate game

Giorgi nearly found herself behind in the second set, as Watson worked herself into a position to break Giorgi in the very first game. The Italian managed to fight off Watson's break point chance, before going on to win the game herself. In the second game, Giorgi then had her own chances to break Watson. After some strong play, the Italian found herself with two break point opportunities, both of which Watson managed to prevent her from taking. Watson's serve was nowhere near as good as it had been in the first set, and this was shown as she gifted Giorgi another two chances to break. Once again though, Giorgi could not capitalize on the opportunities she had, which allowed Watson to eventually win the game.

After struggling to hold their opening service games of the set, it looked likely that someone would get a break over the course of the next few games. This was not the case though, as both players found the form they had when they served in the first set. Neither Giorgi or Watson faced another break point until the sixth game. The opportunity to break fell into the hands of Giorgi, but once again, the Italian could not make the most of the chances she had. Watson upped her game at the perfect time to prevent Giorgi from breaking her, before going on to hold.

Watson got the breakthrough in the penultimate game of the set. The British player made the most of some poor play from Giorgi to pick up the break, and put herself into a position to serve for the match. Watson did not let the pressure of serving for the match get to her, as she won the game to love. Not long after, the British number two took the game, set and match at the first time of asking.

After her straight sets victory today, Watson progresses into the second round of the tournament where she will face either Barbora Strycova or Karolina Pliskova.